a.k.a. Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie
a.k.a. Shoujo Kakumei Utena: Adolescence Mokushiroku
Utena came to a new school and quickly learned that she has been chosen to be a duelist. Fated to duel for the prize of the Rose Princess, the winner will own the her mind, body and awesome power. Ghosts from the past, as well as her deepening relationship with the princess, lead Utena to conflict. She has to make a powerful choice that will determine her entire future.
summary by Mugs
Highs: Stylish; interesting plot
Lows: Very difficult to understand
In almost every film it is the director who imparts a piece of themselves into it. So what message does this film give out, that the director must have been smoking something when he made this movie?
This is probably the most surreal anime I have ever seen… and I’ve seen FLCL. On the surface, this movie in an incoherent jumble; a mess of varying people and pasts, none of which contain enough information to hold a plot. Nothing in this movie is straightforward, and almost everything has a deeper meaning to be explained. Luckily I got a hold of the director’s commentary, lest I be in the dark on half of the movie’s meaning.
Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie is extremely stylish, and this is one of its strongest points. Some of the shots in the film are quite breathtaking, and throughout is a pervasive feel of beauty in the settings. The whole movie reminds me of the dream sequences from American Beauty. Also due to it being a movie the animation itself is high quality and extremely fluid.
Bottom line: not everyone will like this movie. Most will probably find it too much of an incoherent mess to truly enjoy it. If you can take pleasure in style over substance, or watch it with director’s commentary to find out what the hell’s going on, this will provide you with a nice distraction. Otherwise, stay away.
Highs: High quality animation
I remember once seeing a trailer for this movie that said something along the lines of “Forget everything you already know about Utena“. I wish I had done that, but unfortunately I did not.
I had heard about how confusing this movie was. I was expecting a side story to the television series or some form of continuation. I also expected my knowledge of the Revolutionary Girl Utena to help me through this movie, as well. To be perfectly frank, my expectations were blown out of the water. It was as if someone had pressed the reset button, bringing in a semi-new motif and a lot of changes to character designs and personalities.
However, Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie wasn’t entirely disappointing to me. It does boast some of the highest quality, crystal clear animation I’ve seen in a movie. The scenery is also quite amazing: a very good melding of computer-assisted images in with the animation. There also exists a very surrealistic feel which both helps and detracts; adding to the movie with wonderfully imaginative scenery but detracting with its sheer complexity around every turn. I strongly recommend getting the DVD so you can watch the director’s commentary to help in understanding this movie.
Overall, Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie was a good watch. Oddly enough, I think those who are not familiar with Utena will enjoy this movie more, while fans of the original may be disappointed.
Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Movie can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE